Bruce Swabb, CPA
I’ve been a business owner long enough to really appreciate when I see another small business with sparkling work vans and trucks, or a well-appointed office. I know that the owner of that business held back cash from her own pocket to maintain a high quality appearance for her business. One of the many sacrifices.
The past few years have been tough on most business owners. Each of us have had to be careful with the allocation of cash due to economic uncertainty. As we slowly emerge from the slowest economic recovery in the past fifty years, it is time to consider catching up on deferred maintenance.
Do you have a list of priorities for repair and maintenance needs? Would you like to put on a pretty face to the world, but felt that you couldn’t afford to make the investment?
Your customers are judging you and your business constantly. It is very important to project quality and confidence in everything you do. In everything the customer sees.
Furthermore, if you are thinking about selling your business in the next couple of years, it makes financial sense to invest in the customer facing appearance of your company. And it certainly makes sense to keep all your equipment in good operating condition.
So where will you get the capital?
Traditional bank lending has been very hard to get – unless you had so much cash on hand that you didn’t need a loan in the first place! Very sore subject indeed.
Dick and I were not big fans of SBA borrowing in the past, but after 2008, it is the most prevalent source of capital for businesses. Fortunately, the current SBA programs are much more flexible than in our past experience and certain lenders can put a loan package together in four to six weeks.
The SBA has several loan programs – 7a, 504, Express Line of Credit and Microloan. I’ll write a blog post with more details on the various loan programs. We’ve found their interest rates and terms to be reasonable and have assisted our clients in financing new production molds and a partner buyout.
The American economic engine is still at half throttle, but we are confident that once the barriers to business are corrected over the next few months, the economic engine will roar to life with surprising speed. In the meantime, think carefully about giving your business a new paint job and mechanical tune up to be ready to hit the accelerator.